This three-week class will help jumpstart your writing by guiding you through the creation and workshop of flash form stories (usually 250 -700 words). Possibly some of these stories have been with you for a while, but you’ve had trouble getting started, or maybe you’re interested in writing entirely new stories. Either way, our goal will be to write prose that features what George Saunders calls “a line by line energy,” that is the trademark of vibrant, precise writing.
We’ll look at examples of flash fiction by writers such as Stuart Dybek, Angela Pneuman, Langston Hughes, Gordon Jackson, Tommy Orange, and Kathy Fish, as well as prose poems by Robert Hass and a few others.
This course is equally suited for new and experienced writers—for poets who wish to try their hand at writing image-driven prose, and for fiction and nonfiction writers who might be struggling with longer form fiction and wishing to free any inhibitions they may have when sitting down to write.
Students will have the opportunity to workshop two flash pieces in the third week of the course.
- Strategies for writing vivid scenes grounded in precise language
- An understanding of the narrative conventions of short form prose
- An increased facility with the writing of sentences imbued with sensory detail
Week 1: Welcome, getting started, writing exercises
Week 2: Discussion of assigned reading, writing prompts
Week 3: Workshop, discussion of assigned reading, writing prompts
*The first two classes will be an hour and a half long, from 8-9:30pm ET, but the third class will be two and a half hours, from 8-10:30pm ET.
Christine Sneed is the author of two novels and two story collections, the most recent of which is The Virginity of Famous Men. Her work has been included in The Best American Short Stories, O. Henry Prize Stories, New England Review, Ploughshares, and New York Times. After many years in Chicago and the Midwest, she now lives in southern California. She's on the fiction faculty and is also the faculty director of Northwestern University’s School of Professional Studies’ graduate creative writing program. She teaches as well for Regis University’s low-residency MFA program.
"The instructor encouraged creativity through clear critiques and meaningful remarks on our work. She is very knowledgeable regarding her art and craft and imparts information freely as we shaped our work."
“She can identify what is needed to make the work stronger and better understood. She also makes very constructive criticism that is extremely valuable.”
"Christine held us to a high standard while creating a supportive learning environment. Particularly tricky in a writing class, but she did it."
"Impressive. . . hypnotic. . . hard to put down. . . . LITTLE KNOWN FACTS is juicy enough to appeal to our prurience but smart enough not to make us feel dirty afterward.... Sneed is such a gifted writer... Her depiction of both proximity to celebrity and celebrity itself had me totally convinced."
"Sneed’s wit, curiosity, empathy, and ability to divine the perfect detail propel this psychologically exquisite, superbly realized novel of intriguing, caricature-transcending characters and predicaments."